George W. Bush Bashes Obama on Middle East

In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors on Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.

One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.

According to the attendee’s transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He’s smooth,” Bush said. “And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”

Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s “second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: “Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they’re doing it on TV.”

Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State’s forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ ” He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”

“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

Bush told several anecdotes about his old friend and rival Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush recalled that Putin met his dog Barney at the White House and then later, when Bush went to Moscow, Putin showed him his dog and remarked that he was “bigger stronger and faster than Barney.” For Bush, that behavior showed him that Putin didn’t think in “win-win” terms.

Bush also remarked that Putin was rich, divorced his wife and loves power. Putin’s domestic popularity comes from his control of Russian media, according to Bush. “Hell, I’d be popular, too, if I owned NBC news,” he said.

Regarding his brother Jeb’s potential run for the presidency, Bush acknowledged that he was a political liability for Jeb, that the Bush name can be used against him, and that Americans don’t like dynasties. He also said that foreign policy is going to be especially important in the presidential campaign and that the test for Republicans running will be who has got the “courage” to resist isolationist tendencies.

Regarding Hillary Clinton, Bush said it will be crucial how she plays her relationship with the president. She will eventually have to choose between running on the Obama administration’s policies or running against them. If she defends them, she’s admitting failure, he said, but if she doesn’t she’s blaming the president.

For George W. Bush, the remarks in Vegas showed he has little respect for how the current president is running the world. He also revealed that he takes little responsibility for the policies that he put in place that contributed to the current state of affairs.

Leading conservative/libertarian declares “Pray that Hillary gets nominated. She is our best hope

By Wayne Allyn Root

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If you’re a conservative, Libertarian, limited government Constitutionalist or patriot, pray for Hillary. She’s our best hope for 2016. I love Hillary Clinton. I’m rooting for Hillary. She is a gift from heaven. I pray for her nomination every morning.

No, I’m not a fan of Hillary. No, I don’t support her policies. No, I don’t want her as president. But I sure want her as the Democratic nominee. She is “the gift that keeps on giving.” Hillary has so much baggage her campaign should be sponsored by Samsonite.

If the GOP has any hope of winning in 2016, Hillary has to be the nominee. Before I get to the scandals, let’s start with the obvious. Hillary is old news, over the hill, tired, worn out, spoiled milk. She is just going through the motions. She doesn’t even look or sound like she cares. Hillary herself can’t think of a single compelling reason for why she should be president. She’s just been waiting around a long time. And she’s a woman. That’s it. That’s her reason.

She’s so old and entitled that the guy who managed her campaign for U.S. Senate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, refuses to endorse her for president. He basically just said what I said. She’s old news. She has no new ideas. She offers America nothing new. That’s one of her closest allies speaking.

Every candidate needs a brand. Hillary’s brand is “Entitlement. It’s my time. Oh, and I’m a female.” Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

If Hillary is the nominee, she can be destroyed and branded with so many scandals, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Destroy her with her own words, “What difference does it make?” Those were her words in front of a congressional committee about the Benghazi tragedy. Four heroes were murdered. She participated in a coverup and all she could think to say was, “What difference does it make?” Meaning, those young heroes are all dead, so who cares?

Her own TV ads in 2008 bragged about her decision-making abilities at 2 a.m. when the important call comes in. Well, we now know what she said when that call came in during the attack on Benghazi. She heard our heroes were about to be murdered and she said, “What difference does it make?” Then, she went back to sleep. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

I suggest TV ad campaigns featuring the parents of those four men abandoned by Hillary and Barack Obama and left to die at the hands of a radical Muslim mob, who clearly were supplied with their weapons by … Hillary and Obama. Let’s ask the parents how they feel about Hillary. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

Is she scared of her role in Benghazi? Well, she erased 32,000 emails. She should be called “Tricky Dicky Hillary.” She was a lawyer on the committee investigating Richard Nixon’s scandals. She knew all about the erased Nixon audiotapes. She learned well. That must be where she got the idea to delete 32,000 emails and wipe the server clean. Like Nixon, she decided what we the people needed to know. Then she pressed “delete.” Run those TV ads 24 hours a day. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.Hillary-Allah

What difference did she make as secretary of state? Name her accomplishments? The world is in flames, the Middle East melted down, ISIS was born, Iran laughed in our face while building a nuclear program — all under her leadership. The world is a far more dangerous place. What difference did she make? Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

“We were dead broke when we left the White House.” There’s another great line. Let’s play it 24 hours a day. Maybe that’s why the Clintons stole the china and furniture on the way out the door. Maybe that’s why $6 billion went missing at the State Department under her watch. When you’re broke, $6 billion can make a big difference. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

Hillary says she is a “woman of the people.” She’s one of us. But she hasn’t driven a car since 1996. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

Hillary is all about the middle class. She has decided to make the middle class the centerpiece of her campaign for president. But “Mrs. Middle Class” demands $300,000 for a one-hour speech and a Gulfstream private jet to take her there and back.

She also gets the presidential suite at a five-star hotel, or she won’t show up. No Marriotts, Hiltons or Holiday Inns for Hillary. Run those facts 24 hours a day. Let’s see how middle-class women respond to her list of demands. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

Hillary is all about honesty and transparency. But it turns out she bought 2 million fake Facebook fans. I guess those are the things you have to do when you ask middle-class college kids paying obscene tuition to pay for your $300,000 speeches and private jets. It must be hard to find real fans! Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

But I saved the best for last: The Clinton Foundation. The Clintons have raised more than $2 billion dollars in donations from the wealthiest people, companies and foreign governments in the world. She’s not “conflicted.” Hillary is bought and paid for. If she wins the presidency, she should wear pantsuits custom designed with patches from corporate sponsors. You know, like NASCAR. She should have Penske and Valvoline patches on her pantsuits. The White House should say: “America’s House, Brought to you by the government of Saudi Arabia.”

Hillary says she fights for the rights of women. Yet she accepts hundreds of millions in donations from Muslim governments that stone women, make them hide behind veils, don’t allow them to drive without a man in the car, don’t allow them to be educated, and arrest and whip them (occasionally even execute them) for being the victims of rape. She could be the biggest hypocrite in the history of politics.hillary vicious

Here’s a great line for TV commercials: “When a Muslim country gives a $10 million check to The Clinton Foundation, then stones a woman, what does Hillary say? ‘Thank you!’” Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

She says she fights for the rights of gays. She tweeted her horror at the new Indiana law protecting religious freedom. But she gladly accepted multimillion-dollar checks from Muslim governments that stone gays and drop them off roofs of buildings. This is the biggest fraud and hypocrite in the history of world politics. Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

Remember Hillary’s TV commercial about that important phone call at 2 a.m.? We need to run TV ads 24 hours a day asking, “When that call comes in at 2 a.m. and it involves one of those countries that gave millions to the Clinton Foundation, do you trust Hillary Clinton to make the decision that is best for America, for your interests, for your children? Hillary Clinton: bought and paid for by foreign governments.” Pray this is the Democratic nominee.

And if you’re a Democrat, you’d better start praying that Hillary is destroyed before she wins the nomination — and early enough that there is time to find and vet a credible replacement. This woman is a ticking time bomb. It’s not a matter of if, but only a matter of when, she implodes or some scandal comes rushing to the surface to blow her campaign to tatters. Maybe it’ll be Benghazi. Or the 32,000 deleted emails. Or maybe it’s the Clinton Foundation. Or maybe it’s her chief of staff and constant woman at her side, Huma Abedin. That story smells worse than all the others.

But I know one thing: Hillary is the most flawed candidate in the history of politics. And I’m praying on bended knees that Hillary gets the nomination.

I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. See you next week. God bless America.

Voters’ verdict explodes 5 Democratic myths

Voters’ verdict explodes 5 Democratic myths

BY BYRON YORK | NOVEMBER 5, 2014 | 8:30 AM

 MYTHS
 As Democratic losses mounted in Senate races across the country on election night, some liberal commentators clung to the idea that dissatisfied voters were sending a generally anti-incumbent message, and not specifically repudiating Democratic officeholders. But the facts of the election just don’t support that story.

Voters replaced Democratic senators with Republicans in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and likely in Alaska, and appear on track to do so in a runoff next month in Louisiana. At the same time, voters kept Republicans in GOP seats in heavily contested races in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky. That is at least 10, and as many as a dozen, tough races, without a single Republican seat changing hands. Tuesday’s voting was a wave alright — a very anti-Democratic wave.

1) The election wouldn’t be a referendum on President Obama. “Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2012 and in 2008,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in late October. “The candidates that are on the ballot are Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress.” Of course, that was true, but Republicans from New Hampshire to Alaska worked tirelessly to put the president figuratively on the ballot. And they succeeded.

Every day on the stump, Republican candidates pressed the point that their Democratic opponents voted for the Obama agenda nearly all the time. “Kay Hagan has voted for President Obama’s failed partisan agenda 95 percent of the time,” said Thom Tillis, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in North Carolina. Mark Pryor “votes with Barack Obama 93 percent of the time,” said Tom Cotton, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in Arkansas. “Mark Udall has voted with [Obama] 99 percent of the time,” said Cory Gardner, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in Colorado.

On Election Day, nearly 60 percent of voters told exit pollsters they were dissatisfied or angry with the Obama administration. In retrospect, there was no more effective campaign strategy for Republicans running in 2014 than to tie an opponent to the president.

Obamacare poison

2) Obamacare wouldn’t matter. Many Democrats and their liberal supporters in the press believed that the president’s healthcare plan, a year into implementation, would not be a major factor in the midterms. But Republican candidates ignored the liberal pundits and pounded away on Obamacare anyway — and it contributed to their success.

“In our polling, [Obamacare] continues to be just as hot as it’s been all year long,” said a source in the campaign of Tom Cotton, who won a Senate seat handily in Arkansas, in an interview about ten days before the election. “If you look at a word cloud of voters’ biggest hesitation in voting for Mark Pryor, the two biggest words are ‘Obama’ and ‘Obamacare.’ Everything after that is almost an afterthought.” Other winning GOP candidates pushed hard on Obamacare, too. Tillis in North Carolina, Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, and several others made opposition to Obamacare a central part of their campaigns.

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3) An improving economy would limit Democrats’ losses. In the few places he felt confident and welcome enough to campaign, Obama devoted much of his appeal to citing the economic progress his administration has made: jobs created, growth, healthcare costs, corporate regulation.

The election results were pretty definitive proof that voters are not feeling the progress Obama feels has been made. Most importantly, it is an unhappy fact that a significant part of the decline in the unemployment rate under Obama has been the result of discouraged workers giving up the search for employment altogether. Indeed, in exit polls, nearly 70 percent of voters expressed negative feelings about the economy, many years into the Obama recovery.

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4) Women would save Democrats. There were times when the midterm Senate campaigns seemed entirely devoted to seeking the approval of women voters. The Udall campaign in Colorado was almost a parody of such an appeal to women, focusing so extensively on contraception and abortion that the Denver Post called it an “obnoxious one-issue campaign.”

Beyond Udall, most Democrats hoped a gender gap would boost them to victory. As it turned out, there was a gender gap in Tuesday’s voting, but it favored Republicans. Exit polls showed that Democrats won women by seven points, while Republicans won men by 13 points. The numbers are definitive proof that, contrary to much conventional wisdom, Democrats have a bigger gender gap problem than the GOP. The elections showed precisely the opposite of what Democrats hoped they would.

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5) The ground game would power Democrats to victory. When all else failed — and all else seemed to fail in the campaign’s final days — Democrats believed that a superior ability to get voters to the polls would be their margin of victory, or at the very least would limit Democratic losses. After all, the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012 had run rings around Republicans in voter contact and get-out-the-vote technology.

It didn’t turn out that way. Republicans had upped their game; the party invested millions in an improved turnout machine, and it appears to have passed its first test. At the same time, Democrats failed to conjure that 2008 and 2012 turnout magic in 2014. “The Obama coalition that propelled the president to two victories remained cohesive, drawing on minorities, younger voters as well as women,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “But Democratic efforts to boost turnout among younger and minority voters fell short.”

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Perhaps most importantly, Democrats learned that a solid turnout effort could not overcome the drag of Obama, Obamacare, the economy, and a generalized unhappiness with the state of the country under the Obama administration.

In the end, Tuesday’s vote represented a repudiation of virtually every notion Democrats embraced in recent weeks as they tried to disregard the growing evidence that they were headed for a historic defeat. Now, the vote is in, and the voters’ message can no longer be discounted.

War on Contraception? No, an Attack on Religion.

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War on Contraception? No, an Attack on Religion.

By Ramesh Ponnuru Dec 1, 2013 8:01 AM PT

From reading the New York Times, you might think that religious conservatives had started a culture war over whether company health-insurance plans should cover contraception. What’s at issue in two cases the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear, the Times editorializes, is “the assertion by private businesses and their owners of an unprecedented right to impose the owners’ religious views on workers who do not share them.”

That way of looking at the issue will be persuasive if your memory does not extend back two years. Up until 2012, no federal law or regulation required employers to cover contraception (or drugs that may cause abortion, which one of the cases involves). If 2011 was marked by a widespread crisis of employers’ imposing their views on contraception on employees, nobody talked about it.

Ramesh Ponnuru

About Ramesh Ponnuru»

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, where he has covered national politics for 18 years.

 

What’s actually new here is the Obama administration’s 2012 regulation requiring almost all employers to cover contraception, sterilization and drugs that may cause abortion. It issued that regulation under authority given in the Obamacare legislation.

The regulation runs afoul of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a Clinton-era law. That act says that the government may impose a substantial burden on the exercise of religious belief only if it’s the least restrictive way to advance a compelling governmental interest. The act further says that no later law should be read to trump this protection unless it explicitly says it’s doing that. The Affordable Care Act has no such language.

Is a marginal increase in access to contraception a compelling interest, and is levying steep fines on employers who refuse to provide it for religious reasons the least burdensome way to further it? It seems doubtful.

Supporters of the regulation are resorting, as Jessica Valenti does at the Nation, to the slippery-slope argument: What if your boss is a Jehovah’s Witness and he doesn’t want to cover blood transfusions? Again, though, it has been legal for employers in most places to make this decision for most of American history. Ever heard of anyone going without a transfusion for this reason? The problem is wholly hypothetical.

A lot of people, especially liberals, think that contraceptive coverage was a powerful campaign issue for the Democrats last year, contrary evidence notwithstanding. If that’s right, then liberals ought to have some success in getting Congress to pass the law with an explicit override of protections for religious dissenters. Until Congress takes such action, the courts should apply the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Valenti also argues that opposition to the regulation “is not about religious freedom, it’s about sexism, and a fear of women’s sexuality.” It’s a free country, and people are entitled to adopt her cartoonish views of people who disagree with her. But our statutory right to act on our religious beliefs does not depend on what Valenti thinks of them. Thank — goodness.

(Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor at National Review. Follow him on Twitter @RameshPonnuru)